Italics Rendering in VS2010 Beta 1

A few people have asked questions about my comment on the rendering quality of italics fonts in Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1. To make the point clearer, here’s VS2010 side by side with VS2008, with the exact same code being displayed, using the same font (Envy Code R VS) at the same size:


If you look at the expanded view carefully, you should be able to spot some significant differences. For example, look at the rendering for letters like “e” and “t”. Of course, I can’t easily compare using another font, so that might be related (or not).

This screenshot did leave me with a question: How come VS2008 manages to display 2 lines more than VS2010, if both text editor windows are the same size and both are using the same font size?


  1. It looks like the line spacing in VS2010 is slightly larger. I wonder if that’s easy to change.

  2. It looks like each line of code (non comment, non blank) is actually slightly larger in VS2010. I’m only going by what I’m seeing in your screen shots, using my screen capture tool that draws a line across the screen, but it seems that all lines are equal until the first code line: “using System;”

    Pretty strange. Could it be a product of text rendering in WPF? If you use the normal fonts do you see the same behavior? (btw, love your font and VS themes!)

  3. James: Yes, it’s weird. I just tried it with Consolas 12pt, and I see the same behavior: VS2008 shows 2 more lines than 2010. So it doesn’t appear to be related to the font used.

  4. I’ve done a few more tests, and I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe I’ve got it backwards… maybe VS2010 is actually rendering Envy Code R in italics correctly. Still the old rendering seems to look a bit better to me :)

  5. The situation here is that VS2010 beta 1 is rendering text via WPF which uses ideal widths and not GDI adjusted widths in order to enable sub-pixel positioning. This doesn’t really make sense for monospaced fonts and the font rendering is very likely to change before RTM :)


  6. With the ability for WPF to use open type font features, specifically tabular vs proportional alignment, perhaps a smart editor would make it possible to use proportional fonts for most of the code, and then set the alignment to tabular when trying to arrange multiple lines of text. Such as assignment statements.

    Take a look at to see what I mean.

    Additionally, I like the possibilities WPF will provide for scrunching more text on a line while keeping the font large, or scrunching more lines on the screen while keeping the font large.

    Except for now it looks like it’s giving us less. ha ha.

    I think a neat idea for an addon is something that would make the System.blah.blah small and then the last name in the string larger. For example, the Winterdom.IO. would be small and the FileMap could be large.

    It’s not really an issue on that example, but I’ve seen really long blah.blah.blah.blah.blah.somethingimportant that isn’t even on the screen anymore code. This could fix that. A mouseover would expand the blahs to make them inspectable when necessary. a single click would make them stay big. a second click would make them small again.

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